New York is a major center for business, and with business comes contracts. Contracts don’t always work out perfectly, and resolving disputes when it comes to contracts is an important skill for all parties involved to minimize costs and avoid negative outcomes.
There are several different paths to resolve a contract dispute. The simplest and cheapest is to use mediation. Mediation isn’t legally binding, but it can guide the parties to an acceptable outcome in a way that is much cheaper and faster than litigation. It can also help preserve the relationship by minimizing confrontations. The stage above mediation is arbitration. Arbitration is a slightly more formal process and could look more like a court case with witnesses and testimony, but is still cheaper and faster than real litigation. The outcome of the arbitration is legally binding. Some contracts have rules forbidding arbitration or requiring that it take a particular form.
The next stage up is called collaborative litigation. Again, it is more formal and involves meetings between the two parties and both sets of lawyers. It is confidential and the parties have full control over the process, rules, and outcomes. The last possible road is full litigation. This is the longest and most expensive approach, but also the most formal and comprehensive. Sometimes it is the only way to get it done.
The right choice depends on the nature of the dispute, the closeness of the relationship, and the outcomes that the parties want. Cheaper is usually better, but this can vary from case to case, so there is no one best route for any dispute.